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Good News - October 2017

Failure Is Not Optional…

            Perhaps you have heard this phrase, which shows up in many different contexts. I have heard it in pregame speeches from football coaches and business team meetings. I have even seen my brother post this in bold lettering on the walls of his company’s War Room (which gives you a sense of the kind of business leader he is). He drove this phrase into the core of my being when I was growing up. Failure is not optional…

            The other day I was cleaning up the stage when I ran across a project I would have just as soon forgot. I had attempted a stage design that had failed, epically. Fortunately, it never made it to a Sunday service. The design was great, it fit thematically very well, but I used the wrong materials and it simply did not work. So I scrapped it, maybe to try again another time. This week I cleaned up the wreckage and it reminded me of this phrase.

            I used this phrase in my devotional for Consistory this past month, but I added in the second half. Failure is not optional…it’s necessary. My brother may drive the 10 hours from Chicago just to slap me upside the head for saying that, but I believe it’s true in just about any context.

            I mean this – if failure is not optional, you will always play it safe. You will never step out, you will never try anything new, and you will never see if the glass ceiling we often put over our heads really can be shattered. This, my friends, will severely limit how much life a person can live.

            It’s like the powerful elephant that is led around by a small string. Somebody asked the trainer, “Here’s this crazy strong animal. Why don’t they just break free?” It’s because they are led by a string when they are very young, before they have the strength to break free. Enough failed attempts teaches them “I can’t do it, so why try?” Another translation – “If I’m not allowed to fail, why risk it? Why try?”

            That failed stage design was not the first time I tried something that didn’t work out, not by a long shot. But rather than give up ministry (some people would take a failure and let it go that far in their minds), I learned from it and will take that knowledge into my next bit of design. And I move on…

            What are the small strings holding you back? What have you wanted to try, but thought “failure would be too painful/embarrassing/disastrous”? We have all failed, no matter how perfect we pretend to be. But risking failure in a calculated way (what is really the worst that could happen?) is usually a precursor to a whole new level of abundant life.

            Consider – if we gave up at the risk of failure, none of us would be walking today…

            Many Blessings,

            Pastor Brian




Sermon Archive

Click here to see our current series

Remembering Your First LoveSeeking God (1/10)Hosea 10, 11, 14
Grabbing a SliceSeeking God (2/10)1 Chronicles 12, 16, John 13
The Truth About The TruthSeeking God (3/10)1 John 1:5-10
No MoreSeeking God (4/10)John 8:2-11
God's GlueSeeking God (5/10)Ephesians 2:1-9
Getting ReadySeeking God (6/10)1 Peter 1:13-21
Love's Acid TestSeeking God (7/10)John 14:15-24
We're GoodSeeking God (8/10)1 John 4:5-21
A Prisoner FreedSeeking God (9/10)Matthew 18:21-35
Light PowerSeeking God (10/10)Galatians 5:16-26
Promise KeeperRefuel (1/5)John 14:18-31
John 16:4-15
Cosmic MathRefuel (2/5)Mark 1:1-11
Fruity LivingRefuel (3/5)Galatians 5:16-26
Step OneRefuel (4/5)John 3:1-16
Set ApartRefuel (5/5)Romans 8:1-11
Fear Not Unshakeable (1/6)Matthew 28:1-10
On Your FeetUnshakeable (2/6)John 21:1-19
I Have This Hope
     song video
Unshakeable (3/6)1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The Most Perfect Imperfect PrayerUnshakeable (4/6)Mark 9:14-29
God's Job DescriptionUnshakeable (5/6)Exodus 3:1-15
Confidence In The ChaosUnshakeable (6/6)John 16:25-33
Looking ForwardTough Questions (1/5)John 1:35-42
Stuck In The Ivory TowersTough Questions (2/5)John 3:1-15
I Didn't Sign Up For ThisTough Questions (3/5)John 6:60-71
Best IntentionsTough Questions (4/5)John 13:31-38
I AmTough Questions (5/5)John 18:1-11
Demo DayLinked (1/4)Ephesians 2:11-22
Greater Than The SumLinked (2/4)Psalm 100
More Than A PotluckLinked (3/4)Matthew 25:31-46
Here I Am Linked (4/4)James 5:13-20
Who's Hungry?I Need A Miracle (1/5)John 6:1-15
Coming Up EmptyI Need A Miracle (2/5)John 2:1-11
You Gotta Get Out Of The BoatI Need A Miracle (3/5)Matthew 14:23-33
Don't Just Count Your BlessingsI Need A Miracle (4/5)Luke 17:11-19
That's A Silly QuestionI Need A Miracle (5/5)John 5:1-15
You Want Me To Do What?Christmas Chaos (1/4)Luke 1:26-38
Not Perfect...BetterChristmas Chaos (2/4)Luke 2:1-7
Battle of the KingsChristmas Chaos (3/4)Matthew 2:1-18
Salvation Is HereChristmas Chaos (4/4)Luke 2:22-32

Going Deeper

These questions and actions are designed to help you find ways to take Sunday’s Scripture out into the world as the hands and feet of Christ. 

Making You Think

·         What do you think you need to do in order to be strong and gentle at the same time?

·         How is 1 Peter 3:15 an answer to the times when no one seems to notice the good you are trying to do in your life?

·         How does the phrase ‘always be ready’ indicate that evangelism should be a priority?


Memory Verse

In your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.

- 1 Peter 3:15–16a (NRSV)

Next Steps

How did you come to accept Christ in your life? Can you tell the story in roughly two minutes? Practice it (write it out if you must, that’s okay) because the opportunity to share it often comes fast!


Good News Archive
Good News - Nov 2017
Good News - Oct 2017
Good News - Sept 2017
Good News - August 2017
Good News - July 2017
Good News - June 2017
Good News - May 2017
Good News - April 2017
Good News - March 2017


RCA - our denominational site
GotQuestions - great apologetics site

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Blue Letter Bible - online Bibles + commentaries
Bible Hub - online Bibles + commentaries

OnePlace - audio sermons

Logos - Pastor Brian's choice of Bible software
e-sword - free Bible software

5694 Woodlane Newark NY 14513              Phone: (315) 331-4903              E-mail: office@woodlanechurch.org